Tuesday 7 February 2023

Impressive Imterchange Improvement (1)

But Is It Big Enough?

The bus station that closed in September  2022 was certainly big enough. This was helped by a significant reduction in the number of services that use it now compared with its earlier life.

The minibus craze saw buses every 10 minutes on each route to Tesco and Binstead.

Frequencies were cut back as the minibus craze was found to be less of a money spinner than its proponents believed! But now Tesco is served by a slight diversion off the main road routes via Sandown and Shanklin, the 2 and 3. Binstead has just an hourly circular 37 which also incorporates the former half hourly service to Haylands.
The former service via Haylands and Havenstreet to Newport (once roughly every hour) has gone completely.

Service 8 to Bembridge and beyond is now every hour whereas it once rose to the heady heights of every 15 minutes. Half hourly was a later norm.

East Cowes 4 remains half hourly and the main routes to Newport (9) combine to run every ten minutes. To allow for layover, they were allocated TWO stands in the old bus station.

The Downs Breezer ...
... which had its origins in fbb's Westbrook Travel route 88 ...
... runs hourly during the peak summer period. It does, however, need a stand.

The new bus station, nearing completion, is very different from it's predecessor. By pinching a bit of land from the Western Gardens, room has been found for kerbside stands in a graceful arc off the Esplanade Here is the original plan.
It shows EIGHT stands, a very generous provision but designed by an architect who had no idea that you cannot drive buses sideways (like a crab) to get to their stand! Not enough room.

But the one positive of this plan is shown bottom right.

For countless generation, buses leaving via the town centre have had to trail along the Esplanade and U-turn at the end of Dover street (the pale yellow road  - map centre right) before turning up George Street.
Now they will go straight across using a new traffic light controlled junction.

But the designers have had a second "go" at the plans.
We now have FIVE stands on the new road, with just one at the side of the street. Will SIX stands be enough and, more importantly, where will buses lurk while waiting for duty? There was plenty of lurking space in the old set up, remember?
Island hack Alan has sent some pictures of the current situation. Here a general view.
... with the old sheltered stands in the background.
There are plenty of flower beds, so here's hoping the Council will have increased its budget to fill them and maintain them! 
They will have less of the Western Gardens to look after having removed a good slice of the flower beds ...
... plus the toilet and cafe block to provide and angled "dual carriageway" access to/from the pier ...
... seen below under construction looking back towards the non-roundabout.
The cafe and toilets are being re-located in a revamped Esplanade station building.

Of which more in due course,

IF the bus station is well maintained; and IF the signage and timetable information is good; and IF the enquiry office is fully staffed; and IF there is enough room for efficient operation; this should represent an improvement in safety, attractiveness and accessibility for public transport.


Will it look as pretty as this?
Unlikely! Designers are always over-optimistic!

But tomorrow fbb will review this stunning development in public transport information.
It is a timetable book - printed - on paper! And, as of yesterday, was not even on-line!

First Bus New Liveries In Bristol?
Route 1, orange, grey, blue-grey and mud.
Badgerline green, yellow and mud for Weston-super-Mud.
How about deploying man with bucket, water and mop at layover points. Then bottom deck passengers (the only deck on one of them!) might be able to see where they are going.

 Next Timetable book blog : Wednesday 8th February 

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